Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Judean People's Front

According to Heather Hurlburt, we, of the progressive/liberal persuasion, are addicted to infighting - foolishly prone to internecine squabbles in pursuit of the "purest" vision of progressivism. Since Monty Python analogies are the theme of the day, allow me to suggest that we are like the myriad Jewish resistance groups in the film The Life of Brian who are so focused on bettering each other, and providing "the" way to liberation, that they fail to direct their attention at their common target: the Romans. Remember the unforgettable scene where two such resistance groups (the People's Front of Judea and the Campaign for Free Galilee), each on their way to kidnap Pilate's wife, meet up in the sewers and begin fighting with each other instead of going on to strike at the Romans. In the heat of battle, Brian attempts to restore sanity:

Brothers! Brothers! We should be struggling together!

We are!

We mustn't fight each other! Surely we should be united against the common enemy!

The Judean People's Front?!

No, no! The Romans!

Though she adds another layer to the analysis, Heather's mild (in comparison) rant tracks with my previous attempt to admonish the Democratic Party for its notorious self sabotage and maddening tendency to jump into the middle of its political opponents' crises. My main thesis was that, as a Party, the Democrats would be better off with a more understated approach on Iraq than the one on display in recent weeks - with the result of the recent stumbles likely to provide cover for Bush (in terms of deflecting negative press coverage, solidifying his base and offering a scapegoat for the inevitable withdrawal). Here's Hurlburt (emphasis mine):

And President Bush says he is in [Iraq] until victory, even though his Pentagon seems to be getting ready to draw down next year.

But is that in the papers every day? No.

Why? No, not because of a right-wing media conspiracy. Because most Republicans are too disciplined to discuss it -- and, frankly, because at least some of them are probably too busy figuring out how to carve each other up with stilettos. Quietly.

Folks, we are sucking up all the oxygen that ought to be going to serious debate of serious issues around Iraq -- or, failing that, at least to fan the fire around the Administration's failures. That is MORE IMPORTANT than Murtha vs. Lieberman, Pelosi vs. Hoyer, or Dean vs. everybody.

Positive plans are great -- gives people something to think about, Americans something hopeful to hold onto, and can even be used to push back on other plans. We have lots to say that is positive and pro-active.

But the next time somebody's plan shows up in your inbox, and you take five minutes to write a critique -- stop before you hit global send. Please. None of us is going in the history books for the effectiveness of our hatchet jobs on this war.
I would add that before you think to draft the master plan for Iraq (if you are a politician, party appartchik or other influential figure), you might want to stop before you send it at all, hit save and sit on it until Bush is done roasting. In fact, why don't you throw a couple more coals on the fire if you feel the need to speak out about something. There's plenty of kindling available. Besides, last time I checked, he wasn't listening to you anyway, so spare us the vanity pose. If you must, please refer to the series of "first rules" regarding momentum and your adversary's struggles contained in my earlier post.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?